Emmalyn Ross never thought a person could feel this alone. Sustaining a marriage with a man who’s not by her side is no easy task, especially since her husband currently resides behind impenetrable prison walls.
His actions stole her heart’s desire and gave their relationship a court-mandated five-year time-out. What didn’t fall apart that night fell apart in the intervening years.
Now, on a self-imposed exile to Madeline Island—one of the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior—Emmalyn starts rehabbing an old hunting cottage they’d purchased when life made sense. Restoring it may put a roof over her head, but a home needs more than a roof and walls, just as a marriage needs more than vows and a license. With only a handful of months before her husband is released,
Emmalyn must figure out if and how they can ever be a couple again. And his silence isn’t helping.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)|
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As Waters Gone By
By Cynthia Ruchti
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2015 Cynthia Ruchti
All rights reserved.
Too far to swim.
The moat-like stretch of Lake Superior glinted in the October sun as if the waves were rows of razor wire.
Once her feet hit the island in the near distance, the floating drawbridge ferry drawn up for the night, the shore of Madeline Island would form the walls of her existence.
Max talked about the concrete walls of his prison as if the confines protected him from the outside world. Was it too much to hope sand and rocks and deep water would do the same for her?
Did I do the right thing, Max?
One last ferry for the day. She'd missed the next to the last. Three minutes late. Only three minutes. The sluggish gas pump could be blamed. Or her failure to check the website for the ferry's off-season hours. Emmalyn Ross had one more chance before dark, or she'd be forced to stay in Bayfield overnight, forced to talk to people, risk having to explain what she was doing there and why she was alone.
Five years ago, she'd been three minutes late getting to Max's desperate voice mail message. "Emi, I'm in trouble. Can you come get me?" His smudged words stuck like indelible mascara smears. She hadn't noticed the message until he'd already left the restaurant-slash-tavern, until he'd already pushed the accelerator toward their incomprehensible future.
A ferry attendant tapped on the car window. Emmalyn fumbled for the button to lower it. The rear window responded. Wrong button. She raised the rear window and lowered the driver's.
"Missed this one." The attendant, a middle-aged woman with a portable credit card reader in hand, gave Emmalyn the impression she was a retired teacher in a second career.
"I see that." Emmalyn looked past the attendant at the maze of orange cones—any empty maze now—where vehicles must have waited for the ferry she was supposed to have taken.
"There's another." The attendant pointed to the schedule in her hand. "Last one of the day. Wanna pay now? You can do that."
Why would Emmalyn hesitate?
"Unless," the attendant added, "you think you might change your mind."
The attendant's eyebrows registered surprise at the velocity of those two words.
Emmalyn smiled a third-grade-picture-day smile that seemed normal at the start but stretched her lips too taut. "Yes, thank you. I'll purchase my ticket now." She had forty-five minutes or more to kill. Paying ahead would use up—
Three of them.
Across the water lay a room at—she checked the computer printout on the passenger seat—The Wild Iris Inn. When the attendant swiped her credit card, Emmalyn felt the now familiar reflex. The swipe sounded like the slash of a knife. It sliced a deeper gash in resources that at the peak of her career, before The Unraveling, could have borne a thousand swipes without a conscious thought.
The house in Lexington—people always assumed Kentucky, not Minnesota—emptied quickly once she'd crunched numbers to a fine dust. Losing Max's income, then losing hers when the economy decided chefs in high-end restaurants were expendable, and the slow demise of her catering venture ...
"Thank you." She slid her credit card and the receipt into her purse and followed the attendant's gestures for exiting the parking lot.
Some towns chart well on graph paper. Nice, even streets. Identically sized blocks of buildings. Every street running either parallel to or perpendicular to the others. Not Bayfield, Wisconsin. It had more curiosity going for it than just its location on the northernmost point of the state, along the largest body of fresh-water in the world, within sight of the geographic and geologic curiosity of the Apostle Islands.
Some streets wandered. A handful of them played by the rules. The rest curved and sauntered and climbed at steep angles—posing threats to weak clutches and tires on ice—or meandered until they ended abruptly at the water's edge. The marina. The city park. The ferry line.
Emmalyn resisted the lure of an organic coffee shop and the gift shops along Rittenhouse Avenue. She chose a wandering street. Seemed fitting. Isn't that what the homeless do? Wander?
At the elbow of the backstreet she'd chosen, she pulled her Prius to the curb beside a junkyard. No, a park. Both.
Several decrepit boats sat at odd angles, paint worn away to its gray roots, boards missing, jagged holes in the hull, decks unsafe for their intended purposes. Shipwrecks. Emmalyn followed the path that wove among them. Hand-carved benches invited her to stop and take in the history of ships dragged from—or retired from—the waters a few feet away, and the well-landscaped garden tucked around the unseaworthy vessels.
The deeper into the park she walked, the tighter her jaw tensed. "You don't make gardens out of life's shipwrecks."
A tenacious late-blooming rose—an intense fuchsia color—nodded toward her. She ignored it, driving her hands deep into the pockets of her jacket.
"Not from shipwrecks. I ought to know."
Emmalyn retraced her steps to the car. It held no appeal. She'd sat in the driver's seat for six hours getting this far north, this far away from The Town That Knew Too Much. Half a block away, a massive boat—would it qualify as a yacht?—was being cinched onto a trailer hooked to a heavy-duty pickup. The boat dwarfed the truck so profoundly, it reminded Emmalyn of the tugboat pulling a cruise ship in a children's book among those she'd collected. The lower two-thirds of the hull dripped water, like a fish held aloft by a proud fisherman.
The book, buried now under other useless stuff in the storage unit, had probably seen its last peek at daylight. House. Life. Career. Hope of children. Gone. Marriage? Yet to be determined. What hadn't she and Max messed up?
The yacht, following obediently behind the truck, headed for winter quarters. A season of inactivity. A season. Not a lifetime.
A ripple of irony's laughter coursed through her. She was jealous of a boat's hopes for the future.
Gravel crunched beneath her feet as she crossed to a grassy area near the marina. She noted the gazebo first, then the playground beyond it. Of course. A playground. Pink noise—sweeter than white noise—lured her to the water's edge. Waves against rocks. Startlingly clear water, burbling in pockets between the bowling ball–sized boulders lining this portion of the shoreline. Round and oval pebbles a hundred yards closer to the center of town. Sand beach somewhere. Rugged cliffs only a mile away. Such a changeable shoreline.
Madeline Island stretched long and low in the distance. A twenty-minute ferry ride, if she remembered correctly. Against the expanse of green forest fancied up with the yellows, reds, and oranges of a north woods autumn, a spackling of white marked the landing spot in the village of LaPointe, the island's only civilization center. A room waited for her not far from the landing. The real adventure wouldn't begin until morning when it was light enough to survey the mess Max had gotten her into.
Her wedding ring felt tight on her finger. The pretzels. Too much salt. In her thirties, salt hadn't bothered her like this. When she hit forty ...
The day was grayer than she'd hoped. They all were. Scudding clouds made the marine blue shrink-wrap on the dry-docked boats all the brighter. Like a shower cap for watercraft, the plastic hugged the forms, protecting them from the winter too quickly approaching. Within a couple of months, the ferry would be retired, too, thwarted by ice several feet thick, she'd heard.
A shiver wiggled its way north from her toes.
She knew cold. She knew cold and lonely. Now she'd know cold, lonely, and stranded.
She wandered past the gazebo, stirred by a sound stronger than waves. Laughter. Children's laughter.
Two boys, maybe four and five, chased each other down the spiral slide, giggling when they landed on top of one another at the slide's end. A woman tough enough to be their mother warned them to leave space between them—one at a time—or someone would get hurt.
The mother stood at an odd angle, like a runway model thrusting her hip to the side. She wore a pink and purple little one on that hip and a striped shirt stretched over the baby Emmalyn guessed to be no more than two months away from making its appearance.
Bayfield was not the place to come.
Too much laughter.
She returned the young mom's wave but angled herself toward the water again, focusing on the lapping water, the ceiling of dryer lint clouds, the curve of the harbor to her left. Motionless masts hid her view of the ferry dock.
How much time did she have left to kill?
According to Max's sentencing, another eight months.
* * *
Five years, Max?
Emmalyn remembered chanting the question so often after he went to prison, it wore a divot in her vocal cords.
"My lawyer warned me it could be worse." Max's voice—emotionless—had used my and me as if the sentence affected only him.
"What am I supposed to do?"
"What do you mean?" He'd barely paused. Barely paused. "Go on with your life."
Who had he turned into? This wasn't the Max she'd lain next to every night, his fingers tracing the curve of her arm until she fell asleep, the Max who made other women jealous for how good Emmalyn had it. The Max who could have taught seminars on how to treat a woman ... before.
The phone connection from prison had crackled in her ear while she tried to cobble together an answer to his, "What do you mean? Go on with your life."
Go on? Incredulity was invented for moments like those.
She'd try. Contrary to her mother's opinion, she was no wimp. But Max had to know how ridiculous his words sounded. This isn't how life was supposed to turn out.
When the "go on" conversation faded—unresolved and hollow—Emmalyn told herself, for the first time ever, that she was grateful not to be pregnant. Going on alone would be hard enough.
More than one doctor informed her the sensations she'd felt were emotional, not physical. Women can't feel a womb shrinking. Emmalyn swore she could. It shrank by half the night Max told her to go on with her life.
* * *
A grocery store's produce mister rained harder than the light drizzle that started. But Emmalyn left the water's edge and headed back to her car. The ferry ticket lady suggested she get her vehicle in line a good ten minutes before departure. That still left a vacuum of an additional ten minutes.
The young mom from the playground herded her littles into a rust-bucket minivan parked a half block in front of the Prius. A man exited the driver's side, his neck hunched against the drizzle, and loaded the stroller into the back. He'd been there all along? Sitting in the van rather than engaging with the kids' play? Missing the laughter?
His mother didn't raise him right.
Not catching the next-to-the-last ferry made her regret having stopped at the orchard for a small bag of apples before finding her way to the landing earlier. She forgave herself for that when her stomach complained it hadn't been fed for hours, as insistent as a terrier nudging his stainless steel bowl across the kitchen floor in a not-so-subtle hint.
She reached for a Cortland in the bag on the passenger seat, polished it on her jeans, and bit through the taut red skin. If she chewed slowly, she could fill the time gap without rousing a memory or a longing.
As if they ever napped.
She closed her eyes and groaned with brief pleasure. The apple's flesh was sweet yet tart, juicy. A good year for Cortlands. Max preferred Jonagolds. She'd bought only Cortlands since he left.
Left? Since he was taken away.
The orchard sales person must have thought it strange Emmalyn stood so long staring at the bin of Jonagolds. The teen had asked, "Want a sample?"
Emmalyn had shaken her head no.
"Would you like me to carry them to the checkout for you? Five pounds? Ten pounds?"
Another head shake.
"Jonagolds are more versatile than either the Jonathan or the Golden Delicious from which they're derived. Are you looking for an eating apple, pie apple, making applesauce ...?"
Smooth sales pitch. No to all of the above. "I'll take a bag of Cortlands," she'd said, pointing two bins to her right without losing her eye lock with the Jonagolds. "Five pounds. For now. I'm ... I'm moving to the area."
"Welcome. You just missed Apple Festival. It gets a little crazy around here, but a lot of fun."
"Not much of a fun-seeker."
That sounded pathetic. True, but pathetic. One of these days, she'd fix that. As soon as she figured out how.
She held the apple in her teeth and put the car into DRIVE. Twelve minutes early was better than three minutes late for the last ferry of the day.
* * *
Almost ten years ago, she would have tugged on Max's sleeve, coaxing him to let her weave among the fabric threads of this town. He'd accompany her through the first four or five specialty shops before she noticed that look in his eyes—pained patience—and suggest he wait for her at the coffee shop. Had he brought a book? He'd be fine if it took her another hour to see more, to ooh and aah over more artwork, more history, more children's books they didn't need yet.
And remarkably, he would be fine. Genuinely. A coffee shop armchair, a strong African brew, and uninterrupted time in a biography or legal thriller—ironic now—seemed a gift to him, not a concession to his wife's lack of shopping fatigue. One of the things she'd appreciated about Max. At her side, sharing the experience for a while, then content for them to be engaged in their own interests. Could they ever gain that back? So much distance between them, not to mention the razor wire.
She could almost see him standing at the counter in the coffee shop she passed on her way down Rittenhouse Avenue toward Front Street and the ferry landing. He'd gaze up at the chalkboard of choices as if they mattered. He always ordered the tallest and strongest they had.
She turned left at the L in the road that swung past the public pier, Apostle Islands excursion launch, and the lighthouse shop. Ahead to her right, in the spaces between harborside buildings, she could see glimpses of the lumbering ferry approaching with its load of vehicles returning from the island. Tourists done exploring the island for the day? Mainland residents finished with their workday on Madeline or Madeline residents heading toward their evening shifts on the mainland?
She'd paid for a single round-trip ticket. But at those prices, she'd have to soon check into a resident discount. Was that possible? She doubted the few stores on Madeline Island could provide the furnishings she'd need to change Max's hunting cottage into what would have to pass for a home. If she were frugal, she could survive on what the court costs and restitution hadn't taken, and the abysmal proceeds from the sale of the Lexington house. For a while longer, anyway. But the ferry fee for everything but the barest minimum of supplies—from what she'd heard—could be an uncomfortable drain.
Her cell phone rang. How bizarre would it be if Max's first call from prison in nearly four years came just as she left everything about their old life behind?
The phone slithered out of her hands and dropped between the seats before she could answer it. She fumbled for it, found it, and answered before the call could switch to voice mail.
"Emmalyn Victoria Walker! Where are you?"
"It's Ross, Mother. You were there at the wedding." Emmalyn restarted the engine and turned on the air conditioning. October, but the car had grown stuffy in the last ten seconds.
"You didn't smart-mouth like that when you were younger."
Saved it all up, Mom. Saved it all up. "Did you want something?"
"Yes! I want to know where in the continental United States you are, since you're not at home. I checked."
"The house sold."
The gasp Emmalyn heard was likely accompanied by her mother's hand slapped to her chest to cover the stab wound. "You didn't tell me!"
"I didn't tell anyone else."
"Obviously. We've been talking about what to do with you."
Excerpted from As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti. Copyright © 2015 Cynthia Ruchti. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.” Job 11:16 Emmalyn comes to Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior, as a broken women. Her nine year marriage to Max is probably at an end. She is almost out of money and options. Her dream of being a mother is over. She is almost without hope. Being without options, she has come to see if she can make a remote hunting cabin habitable for herself. She doesn’t know if Max will be joining her since they have not communicated for most of the last four years of his prison sentence. She then meets Boozie ( Bougie) Unfortunate, the proprietress of The Wild Iris Café, who offers warmth, encouragement, an introduction to her loving Savior, and a place of acceptance. Cora, wife of a deployed soldier , the town librarian, roofing contractor, masseuse, mother of a felon ; offers a shoulder to cry on and a solid presence. As Emmalyn begins to make the shack into a place of peace and beauty, she begins to believe in the possibilities of life again. When the real Hope comes into her life she begins to see some of her cherished dreams may become a reality. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book. It deals with many serious issues – infertility, families left behind due to incarceration or military deployment, children of drug addicts, marriages in trouble. One would think that these serious issues would make for a very depressing read. Not so, this book was like a deliciously prepared meal. On the one hand, you want to devour it because every morsel is so wonderful, on the other hand, you don’t want to eat too quickly so that it will be over too soon. I opted for the devour choice. Every chance I had, I was reading it and was so sorry to see the book end. I wanted it to go on and on. I wanted to move to Madeline Island in the hopes of finding my own Boozie Unfortunate and Cora. Cynthia Ruchti’s writing is beautiful. I have read most of her books and they are always about serious subjects, but the characters are wonderful and the prose are lovely. Five Stars are not enough to describe this exquisite book. I received this through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
A major winner for holding on one captive to the end of the story! And presenting a growing curve for realistic characters. Great read!
Enjoyed this book very much! Will purchase more if her books
The story was filled with the sensitive topics of incarceration, infertility, and emotional distance. I like the way the author dealt with these topics within the story, bringing about forgiveness, restoration, peace, and faith. The early chapters of the book seemed a little disconnected, slow, and difficult to follow, but later came together to a wonderful story that was difficult to put down. I think a deeper background of the characters would have given me a quicker connection with them, and would have helped the early chapters flow easier for me. Overall, this book is certainly a worthy read. I think you will find the later chapters certainly make up for anything you may find lacking in the early chapters. A copy of this book was provided to me by NetGallery in exchange for my honest review.
As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti is a Christian novel about hope and healing. Emmalyn Ross is moving to a cabin on Madeline Island. They (Emmalyn and her husband, Max) purchased it over eight years ago. Max visited it a few times with friends for hunting, but Emmalyn has not been there in many years (nor has she checked on it). Emmalyn is looking for a chance to start over because her husband in in prison and her infertility. Max was sentenced to five years in prison and he has less than a year to go on his sentence. Emmalyn arrives on the island and stays at The Wild Iris Inn (and Café). She meets Boozie Unfortunate (real first name is Bougie—French for candle). Boozie is a unique character. She believes in God, hope, healing, and fun. Boozie has a quirky sense of style and a great attitude. Meeting Boozie is one of the best things to happen to Emmalyn. Emmalyn finds out that a tree fell through the roof of the cabin during the last big storm. The cabin needs more work than Emmalyn imagined (I do not know what she expected after eight years). She did not even call to turn on the electricity. Boozie introduces Emmalyn to Cora Burman. Cora, among other things, is a roofer. Cora’s husband, Wayne, is currently deployed overseas leaving Cora to raise their children alone. Emmalyn and Cora bond over their husbands as well as Cora’s son, Nick (who just got out of prison). Emmalyn has not spoken nor written to her husband in four years at his request. She needs to find a way to reconnect with him, forgive him for his actions (crime), finish her grieving over not being able to have children, and start living again. A young girl named Hope Elizabeth and a little dog named Comfort will help Emmalyn as well as her new friends on Madeline Island. As Waters Gone By starts off very slow and it is confusing at the beginning. The book got much better after I was 60% through it. The last 40% of the book is very good and enjoyable. I give As Waters Gone By 3 out of 5 stars. If the first part of the book had been as good as the end, it would have been a 5 star book. I also did not understand what Emmalyn had been doing for the last five years while her husband was in prison. She has little money, had to sell their home, and she is currently unemployed. Was she grieving over her not being able to have children this whole time? Or the fact that her husband was in prison? That part was never really explained. I also did not understand why when her husband asked her to stop writing or visiting him that she just complied. If she truly loved him, wouldn’t she have kept trying to reach him? I did enjoy the character of Boozie. She is fun and quirky and not afraid to express her ideas and thoughts. I received a complimentary copy of As Waters Gone By from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
Review of As Waters Gone By Cynthia Ruchti Cynthia Ruchti has written another moving story. She touched my heart on multiple levels. I could identify with many of the characters and many of the situations. The characters are people you will want to get to know. They are rich in personality and you will enjoy each of them. Emmalyn is hurting as everything in her life has changed when her husband went to prison. She hardly knows who she is anymore. Cora’s husband is deployed and unavailable so she has to hold the family together. Bougie is a friend to all because she, too, has faced hurts. Sweet Hope is a young girl, mature beyond her years, because she had to be. How do they all fit together? How do they all relate? Add Cora’s son, a transient dog, difficult family, and you have real life being lived out. The story touches reality with so many situations that people are facing today. In it, you will find a wife dealing with deployment, a troubled marriage, infertility, a move, an older child needing a home, a prison sentence, and surrounding it all, hope! There is pain in all of those situations, yet hope brings about a second chance. I felt like this book was written for me. My son and his family have been through 3 deployments. I adopted older children. I have experienced some of the emotions and hurts that the characters faced. I felt their pain, but I felt their awakening of hope, too. No matter what difficult situation you are facing, you will know that hope gently perseveres to heal and give a second chance. The story shows a persistent hope that changes lives. This is one of my new favorite books! I fell in love with the characters and felt a true affinity with them. I didn’t want the story to end. But even though the story ended, the sense of peace that hope brought stayed with me. This is a book to read and to share.
As Waters Gone By is a wonderful book filled with Biblical hope! Set in the backdrop of a beautiful setting, Cynthia creates a story of faith and finding joy even in difficult circumstances. It is hard to put into words the encouragement I felt as I read this book; it lifted my heart. As Waters Gone By makes you want to believe in second chances and the hope for redemption. It reminds you of who God is - of His mercy and grace but most of all His faithfulness to his children. Cynthia’s writing is different from other authors I have read. She paints a descriptive picture of emotions with the setting; the reader feels the words written on the page. It felt as though I was right there beside Emmalyn getting a glimpse into her heartache and redemption. The other characters are well-developed as well. The theme of true friendship is very apparent in this story. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. As Waters Gone By is a story that will stay with you and keep you reflecting for a long time after you put it down. It is a must read. Thank you to the Litfuse Chicks for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.
As Waters Gone By is a captivating story! Cynthia Ruchti drew me into the pages with her excellent characterization and beautiful imagery. There is something special about each of the quirky, misfit characters in this book. Emmalyn, Boozie, and so many others warmed my heart. As I read, I found myself turning each page with an eagerness to know and understand them and their journeys. The charming setting of Madeline Island is another special character in this story. I would love to visit M’s restored cottage and then venture down the road to The Wild Iris Inn and enjoy their delectable fare and warm hospitality. As Waters Gone By is a book to enjoy and savor! I loved this memorable story of hope and healing and can’t wait to read more from Cynthia Ruchti! A complimentary copy of As Waters Gone By was provided to me through Litfuse Publicity. I appreciate the opportunity to read this book and share my honest opinion
When I read that Cynthia Ruchti's newest book was set on Madeline Island, the largest of Wisconsin's Apostle Islands, I was immediately interested. Lake Superior is one of my favorite places on earth. When our family used to camp on the shores of Lake Superior at a special, almost unknown campground, I could feel myself being revitalized. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands are where my husband and I spent our honeymoon forty-four years ago. Somehow I knew that Ruchti's book would be one of renewal and love. I just didn't know what a tender, fragile story it would be. It almost reminds one of a wounded bird being found, nursed back to health, and then that baby bird begins to soar. Emmalyn Ross has come to Madeline Island alone to a ramshackle hunting cabin owned by her husband and herself. Because the tiny place is basically uninhabitable until repairs can be made to it, Emmalyn has made reservations at the tiny Wild Iris Inn. As she catches the last ferry of the day to the island from Bayfield, we begin to learn a bit of her story -- separated from her husband who appears to be incarcerated, home sold, job resigned. Clearly Emmalyn is a bundle of worry, anxiety, and hurt. From her first step into the Wild Iris Inn, it appears that finally someone(s) will be caring for M, as the eccentric inn owner Bougie names her. Readers will get Emmalyn's story in tiny bits and pieces. There is a suspense there, but for me, sometimes it was too dragged out. I don't think the story would have been harmed if the readers had learned more about Emmalyn, her husband and their past earlier in the book. I liked the cast of island characters, all extreme individualists who each had their own scarred pasts. This added to the overall feeling that a rugged, but beautiful place such as Madeline Island can be part of one's healing. These secondary characters also add to the readers need to consider our own blessings and needs. For example, Bougie hosts a Thanksgiving meal at the inn that is unlike any Thanksgiving feast you've ever known, but it will have all of us with full pantries thinking about our abundance. A few details of the story are a little too convenient or well-plotted to be realistic, but in all I was not disappointed in Ruchti's work. Only in the last pages do you learn the meaning behind the title AS WATERS GONE BY. If you do not know this verse from Job (I did not recognize it), I will leave you to discover it on your own. Suffice to say it is an apt name for this little cabin turned refuge and for Emmalyn's rescued life. I appreciate contemporary fiction that can be read by a wide age range, that goes beyond simple romance to explore the complexities of our lives. I look forward to reading more by Ruchti. I received a copy of AS WATERS GONE BY for review purposes from LitFuse. All opinions are mine.
The first book I read from this author last year, All My Belongings, was so heartbreakingly honest. It was raw with emotion, hardship, hope, and love. As Waters Gone By fell similarly upon me as I read. There were little nuggets of wisdom spread throughout the book and sweet, intimate moments between the characters that helped to shape Emmalyn as she tried to find herself and figure out life while she waited for her husband to come home. There were so many things that she didn't realize she was running from. Blame cast and born where it shouldn't have been. She had been blind to it all. This little island community and this cottage that she works on restoring opens her eyes and gives her a hope for a better future, even when an unexpected visitor and her husband change what she thought that future would be. I just love Ruchti's writing style! There are inspirational moments, but the are presented in such a matter-of-fact way and in just who the characters are that they felt natural, but also powerful. They made me think. I loved what Boozie, the cafe/inn owner said about Emmalyn being Rachel and not Leah. There is just a frankness in the writing and the characters themselves, an honesty that makes them relate-able and real. I just loved Bougie and Cora, Hope and Max (in the end). Most of all I loved Emmalyn and how she opened her heart and grasped the changes she needed to so she could find joy and how that whole process of change involved so many others who became dear in her life. My only complaint is that I would have loved a little more Max or maybe an epilogue. As Waters Gone By was another beautiful, redemptive tale from Cynthia Ruchti. It is one that will stay with me as time passes. It has a heartfelt message. Full of friendship, family, love, and inspiration. I would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy reading in the contemporary Christian fiction genre. Content: Clean Source: I would like to thank Abingdon Press through Litfuse for my complimentary copy, which did not affect my review in any way.
My Review: "Bougie's smile bloomed and spread...'Grace always outweighs gravity'." Words I want to engrave on my heart. Cynthia Rutchi has written a beautiful tale of confusion, fear, love, forgiveness, and grace. As soon as I opened the first chapter and started to read, I wanted to climb in the book and get to know the characters better. Take Emmalyn's hand and walk with her along the beach. Sit and drink tea with Bougie, the quirky innkeeper and even climb on the roof to work with Cora. The story comes to life immediately and holds on until the satisfying end. The author's incredible description paints an inviting setting from the Wild Iris Inn on Madeline Island to the cottage by the lake. I just can't say enough good things about this powerful story. If I could give more than five stars I would. Disclosure: I received a free copy of As Waters Gone By from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.
Cynthia Ruchti has written a beautiful story of forgiveness and second chances. Marriage is difficult enough under perfect circumstances, but for one's spouse to be in prison for five years while trying to repair the remants of a relationship is even more trying. This story is a gripping tale. It had me crying along with the characters. Emmalyn wants a child desperately but now her chances seem to be dying. God blessed me with the privilege of giving birth to and mothering three beautiful daughters so I can definitely imagine Emmalyn's heartache at never having the chance to be a mother. Children are a blessing from God, and Emmalyn feels she is being robbed of that blessing due to Max being imprisoned while her biological clock sounds its ugly alarm. Readers will find this book of second chances and forgiveness completely captivating. I certainly did not want to rest until I had read "the end". Read this heart wrenching story which also highlights love and redemption. Some Christian authors seem to add scriptures and prayers just to make the book seem Christian in nature. Cynthia Ruchti writes it into every fiber of her characters' being. I rate this book 5 stars and would highly recommend it to fans of Christian fiction. I received a free ecopy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.